Before Lizzie McLane can search for her birth mother, she first needs to find herself.
In The Secret of Me (2005), a novel in verse, 14-year-old Lizzie began a quest to discover her place within her adoptive family. Three years older in this stand-alone sequel, also told in verse and journal entries, the now–high-school senior has started the process of looking for her birth mother. Her introductory entry briefly recounts the history of the prior book and delivers a shocker: Her father passed away on the same day that a letter with non-identifying information about her birth mother arrived from the adoption agency. Lizzie’s deeply felt poems depict her sudden downward spiral. She mourns the loss of what was and what could have been, joins her older coworkers in late-night partying and drinking and tries to reconcile her feelings about her old boyfriend and a sensitive, guitar-playing romantic possibility. When her change in lifestyle results in losing close friends and a near rape, Lizzie realizes that she no longer recognizes the girl she sees in the mirror. Kearney, an adoptee herself, ends with information about adoption support groups and resources. She also offers a guide to many of the poems’ forms (ballads, pantoums, villanelles, etc.) and structures.
Fans of Helen Frost will admire the attention to both poetics and story. (Poetry. 14 & up)